It is no defence to say that might have happened, or did happen, in the past | Bushwhacked

One evening this week, I was sitting in a fine food despatch area (okay, so it was my local fish and chip shop) reading – as you do – a July copy of Women’s Weekly.

One female writer had contributed an entire page about why she liked going to the footy these days, and why she suspected so many other women did.

To perve at scantily clad young men in the peak of fitness.

To hope that someone’s jumper, or even his shorts, might get ripped off. To daydream about number four.

She couldn’t care less about the scoreline.

I suspect she wouldn’t know a ruck from a fullback.

Please tell me I’m not the only person who finds that appalling?

In a mainstream magazine, someone openly and gleefully admitted reducing hundreds of young athletes into sexual objects.

It’s not the first time I’ve noticed this in recent times.

I must have been very bad in another life because I actually enjoy scanning morning TV “news” in the forlorn hope of finding that something interesting happened overnight.

ALL of the TV morning programs, Today, Sunrise and ABC Breakfast, have done this in recent months.

In every case, it has been female presenters making shallow comments about seeing men with their shirts off, or flippant remarks about the tightness of their sports uniforms, or making pantomime eye-rolling lascivious gestures to camera.

Yes, that’s right, even the ABC which proudly has highly regarded male and female sports presenters.

Now, I think I might have mentioned before that back in the 1970s when I was a cadet journalist, I bought a copy of a book called Media She, which effectively showed the entrenched objectification of women in the media, especially advertising.

It did this by a simple device.

It took a range of well-known ads or news articles and changed the genders.

It had young men jumping up and down throwing beach balls to each other to advertise Coke.

Its Big M characters were blokes in smugglers.

It showed the Marlboro Woman.

So, let’s apply the same principle here.

Imagine you’re in a fish’n’ch … errrr, fine food waiting room browsing through a copy of GQ magazine and you come across an article by a credentialed writer saying he loved watching netball because of all the female flesh and the tiny skirts, seeing fit young ladies frolicking together while daydreaming of his own goal attack.

The internet would be incandescent with outrage and rightly so.

Or imagine that on Sunrise or Today or ABC Breakfast you saw Karl or Kochie or Michael making lewd comments and gestures over the women’s Olympic swimming coverage and the cossies.

It is no defence to say that might have happened, or did happen, in the past.

The point is that it doesn’t now.

The world has happily moved on and we regard women’s sport in terms of skill and the contest and at last, women’s sport is on the mainstream radar in coverage and reward.

What I am saying is that seeing female media presenters acting like their male counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago is NOT evidence of equality in anything other than insensitivity.

It almost put me off my second dim sim.